April 6- Recapping our Property Management Town Hall
On Monday, April 6th, we hosted our Property Management Executive Town Hall, giving attendees an opportunity to engage in Q&A with industry colleagues and share any new or recent developments their company or community has made to better cope with COVID-19.
Overview of New Member Resources Available
(member login may be required)
- 3-Day Notice Advisory
- Interactive COVID-19 Case Map
- Update on Writ of Possession (Evictions) Suspension
Poll #1- Have any of the following occurred at one or more of your sites?
- Confirmed case(s) of residents testing positive for COVID-19.
- Confirmed case(s) of team members testing positive for COVID-19.
- Confirmed case(s) of corporate personnel testing positive for COVID-19.
- None of the above.
Poll #2- What programs has your company implemented to work with residents experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19? (select all that apply)
- Temporary elimination of late fees or penalties.
- Creating payment plans for residents.
- Temporary reduction of monthly rent.
- Corporate charitable relief to assist residents with rent payments.
- Relaxed early termination requirements (fees/notice).
Poll #3- We are through the first rent collection week since Stay-at-Home Orders were issued. How would you rate the impact on rent collection for April?
- Much higher delinquency than normal
- Higher delinquency than normal
- About the same as the previous month.
- Better than the previous month.
Poll #4A- Are any of your assets considered "covered properties," subject to the federal eviction suspension?
- None of my portfolio is covered.
- Some of my portfolio is covered.
- Most of my portfolio is covered.
- All of my portfolio is covered.
Poll #4B- Do you anticipate requesting mortgage forbearance for any of your portfolio?
We kicked off our Q&A discussion with a few questions from our presenters and then opened it up to attendees for discussion. The information below has been anonymized with the goal of offering broad, situational examples of how the industry is handling day-to-day activity in the face of COVID-19.
- Answer- A commonality in the feedback we received from our panelists was the uncertainty surrounding how to best keep teams focused, motivated, and informed as we continue to adjust to our virtual work environments. Additionally, ensuring employees are equipped with the resources they need to do perform their job duties safely.
- Unique commentary- With schools and many daycares closed, we are in the process of putting measures in place to allow our onsite employees to bring their children to the office with them. We are really excited to have the ability to do something like this. We know there is so much going on and adaptability continues to be our saving grace.
(Q)- "Have you guys learned anything new or made additional protocol/procedural adjustments since our last discussion?"
- Answer- Our teams have really started to get a handle on their A/B team schedules and adjusting to the onsite work-in-isolation measures we have put into place. I think with our residents, there’s a lot of unknown about resident retention, we’ve taken a personalized approach and have begun making phone calls to our residents to gauge their plans and intentions and how we may be able to accommodate them.
- Answer- Companies and communities are doing everything they can to work with residents, whether that be through the creation of payment plans, waiving of late fees, etc., we do not want to be the reason for additional stress and we have and will continue to communicate that to them.
- When a resident expresses their financial hardship, communities ask for either a note from their employer about being furloughed or let go or documentation of having filed or attempted to file for unemployment assistant.
(Q)- "How are you choosing to communicate this information to residents and what avenues are you using to get information to residents in general and how often?"
- Answer- For community-wide messages, many are using their Resident Portals. In addition, many are making calls each day, and holding "resident town halls" via Facebook live to address community questions. Communities are trying to gather information over a week's time to limit communication frequency to only once or twice a week.
- Additional Commentary- It is important that we utilize a variety of communication methods to ensure we are catering to resident preferences and reaching as many of them as possible.
- Answer- We haven't been made aware of available external resources, but many companies have directed residents to contact their property manager if they are experiencing hardship.
- You can find federal, state and local resident resources, here
Question- "We have recently experienced residents calling in "emergency work-orders" to get their non-emergency work orders fixed. Has this happened anywhere else, suggestions on how to handle this?"
- Answer- Some communities have instructed their maintenance professionals to call the resident to get some additional information about the work that needs to be completed.
- A few have even taken to creating DIY maintenance "how-to" videos for residents. Letting the onsite teams handle video production and we are hoping this will help reduce the number of typical service requests for the time being.
Question- "How are communities handling lease-ups and move-ins?"
- Answer- Communities have opted to use realtor locks to get new residents their keys/move-in materials. Additionally, shifting to all paperwork to electronic signage and only accepting ePayments for rent or security deposits.
(Q)- "Anyone offering concessions/reduced rent for renewals?"
- Answer- Given the uncertainty of the situation, communities are offering their residents the option to renew without a rent increase and have waived fees associated with online payment methods.